What to Know
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed the latest 10 vaccinated NY kids to get full college scholarships on Thursday; another 30 will be raffled off over the next three weeks to kids age 12 to 17 who get at least a dose
- More vaccine incentives and sites are also on the immediate horizon; one opening Friday at the Empire State Building Observatory gives free tickets to the first 100 in line while another offers lotto scratch-offs
- Cuomo says he will lift virtually all remaining COVID rules for businesses and social settings once 70% of New York adults have gotten at least one vaccine dose; he says the number is now 69.2%
Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed the latest round of New York kids to earn free four-year college scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY university on Thursday. It's one of the newer, more lucrative programs in the state to incentivize children (and their parents) to get dosed as New York looks to hit its crucial 70% rate benchmark.
Vaccination rates have hit a wall across the board in recent weeks, and Cuomo, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have targeted recent outreach to what they perceive as a fairly untapped (and malleable) market -- kids age 12 to 17.
Cuomo first announced the scholarship incentive program in late May. The state is raffling off 10 free full room and board scholarships -- valued at around $100,000 each -- over the course of five weeks to any New York kid in that age group who gets at least one vaccine dose. Even those dosed prior to the program's launch can add their names to the pool, a marked difference from other state incentive plans.
Any New Yorker age 12 to 17 who has been vaccinated already or gets vaccinated by the last drawing on July 7 can enter to win free college rides. A total of 50 will be awarded. The first winners were announced last week. The latest winners are:
• Ella Campbell, Erie County
• Emily Ghim, Queens
• Jayce Leclere, Westchester County
• Reed Livoti, Westchester County
• Natalia Low, Suffolk County
• Liam Murphy, Manhattan
• Carrie Ng, Brooklyn
• Jack Szydlo, Monroe County
• Jasmine Thalon, Nassau County
• Isabella Wolcott, Steuben County
The governor's latest announcement means there are still three more drawings to go. Here's how to sign up to be notified when each drawing begins.
Cuomo had said 49,000 New York kids age 12 to 17 got vaccinated in the first week after he announced the program. Many more kids likely have gotten dosed since, though the governor didn't offer an updated number on Thursday.
State vaccine data shows the marked increase clearly, though. As of the latest report, 10.7% of New Yorkers age 12 to 15 (the state doesn't break out data 12 to 17 since 16- and 17-year-olds were eligible earlier) are fully immunized.
It's a seemingly small share but one that vaulted up from 7.7% in a 48-hour span and has grown significantly in just the last two weeks as other age groups struggle to hit even a third of a percentage point increase on a daily basis. More than a quarter (27.2%) of those youngest kids have gotten at least one vaccine dose.
Not sure how the process works? Check out our handy tri-state vaccine site finder and FAQs here
New York City and New Jersey Vaccine Providers
Click on each provider to find more information on scheduling appointments for the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Data: City of New York, State of New Jersey • Nina Lin / NBC
The increases are also evident in New York City, where de Blasio has similarly targeted youth with vaccination outreach in recent weeks. Like Cuomo, he is banking that this particular age group and their parents may be more likely to be convinced to get dosed than their older cohorts who have been eligible longer.
Nearly 160,000 New York City residents in that youngest eligible age bracket have gotten at least one dose, up from less than 120,000 a week ago, the mayor said Wednesday. And he expects that number to keep growing.
About 59% of all adult New Yorkers are fully vaccinated to date, state data show. More than 57% of New York City adults can say the same. Statewide, 66.9% of New York adults have gotten at least one dose. CDC data puts that figure a bit higher, around 69.2%. Cuomo says once that CDC figure hits 70% he will lift virtually all remaining COVID restrictions in New York state with limited industry exceptions.
At that point, industry-specific guidelines -- including capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening and contact information for tracing -- will be optional for retail, food services, offices, gyms, amusement centers and personal care businesses, among others.
Large-scale event venues, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional and healthcare facilities and nursing homes will be exempt from the looming restriction lift and must continue to follow state COVID guidance.
Cuomo initially said in announcing his new 70% vaccine milestone plan Monday that he expected the state to hit that benchmark in eight days, which would be six days from now, but on Wednesday as he opened the Tribeca Festival, he said he expects to hit it early. It's not exactly clear how much earlier he expects it to come.
Tracking Coronavirus in Tri-State
The governor did add a few more options to the thousands of already available vaccine providers statewide on Thursday. The Empire State Building Observatory will host a vaccination site from Friday, June 11, through Sunday, June 13;.
The first 100 people to get vaccinated receive a free ticket to the observatory. The other site will debut at the College of Staten Island and will operate from Friday through Thursday, June 17. That site will participate in the state's ongoing "Vax & Scratch" lottery program, which offers $20 scratch-off tickets worth up to $5 million. All people have to do is roll up their sleeves to get a shot at the money.
"Our creative vaccine site locations and incentive programs have succeeded in getting more New Yorkers to come in and roll up their sleeve, and we are continuing this creative approach with these two new sites in New York City," Cuomo said. "Every shot in the arm brings us one step closer to defeating COVID, and if you still need to get vaccinated I encourage you to do that as quickly as possible so we can continue to make progress against this virus and defeat it once and for all."
New York state reported its 13th straight day of record-low COVID positivity on Thursday. The rolling rate is 0.47%, a national low, according to Johns Hopkins University. It has declined for 66 consecutive days while statewide hospitalizations are down to 758, their lowest total since Oct. 8, Cuomo said Thursday.
Due to the low positivity rates and a plummeting demand for them, the governor announced Thursday that state-run drive-thru vaccination sites would begin to be demobilized starting Friday. Cuomo said that with the heavy focus on getting vaccinated, and with the abundance of an array of testing options throughout the state, the dependence on the drive-thru sites wasn't nearly what it once was. He also ensured that no current drive-thru testing appointments would be impacted.
Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region
Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here